Anyone who rides the TTC on a regular basis has probably seen a few crazy things go down. From messy, late-night drunks to angry, unruly commuters, there’s no shortage of stories about the remarkable and repulsive things that go down in our transit system. Here are a few. (Note: this is not meant to be an indictment of the TTC—it takes enough heat already.)
Name: Seven Rogers
Location: Bloor-Danforth line, between Dundas West and Spadina
I had been drinking with a friend and I was on my way home. I wasn’t so drunk that I wasn’t in control of myself but, when this young guy got on the train and sat across the aisle from me, I just chuckled because he sat right beside this older woman, making her really uncomfortable. You could see her agitation. I had forgotten about it—my mind was wandering—but the next thing I knew he was in front of me. He pinned both my arms down to the seat, and with his third hand—I swear there was a third hand—he just clocked me in the face. His fist was big enough to cover the whole bottom half of my face, because my chin, my nose, and everything in between was just bashed. I jumped up and tried to retaliate, but he was a really big guy so it was more comical. I hit him three times and left not a mark on him. When he tried to leave, I wanted him to take responsibility for breaking my tooth. He got off the train and I kicked him as hard as I could, and the only reaction I got was him chasing me back on the train. I was like a gnat to him. To make matters worse, everyone on the train was just sort of like, “make this go away, you’re embarrassing us.” Then a woman, who was bigger than both us, picked us up by the scruffs our necks, looked directly at me and shouted, “Leave him alone! I have to go to work!” and physically threw us off the train at the next stop.
Name: Nicki Mason
Location: Bloor-Danforth line
Date: Winter 2009
Once I was on the TTC and a scary guy sat beside me, and he was drinking Listerine. I moved away, and he eventually passed out and slid to the floor. At Yonge station, the TTC cops were waiting. Then medics came. The dude died! I watched a guy die on the TTC!
Name: Eli Curi
Location: Yonge line
A guy on a mobility scooter with a dog on a leash got onto the subway car going southbound somewhere between Bloor and Union. He had a pretty bad wound on one of his legs. After a few minutes, he sort of ripped a fleshy part out of his leg and threw it in front of his dog, which proceeded to munch on it.
Name: David Silverberg
Location: Spadina station
Date: Summer 2009
While I was waiting for the streetcar to leave Spadina station, a couple started fighting not too far from me. She was kind of a Drew Barrymore lookalike, and he was kind of a skinny dude. They were arguing about something that was muffled at first and, when he insinuated that they shouldn’t be together anymore, she got pretty mad. He didn’t exactly say those words, but it was in the intonation and the way he looked at her. She got really upset and started yelling at him. He told her to quiet down and that he didn’t want to be embarrassed by her. It started to get a bit louder and people started to peer in. It seemed like she really wanted to embarrass him, because he was telling her to quiet down but she wouldn’t. So she said that he once jerked off and came in his own eye, and she said it loud. Of course, I didn’t know if it was true or not, but he looked pretty guilty. He told her to shut up and sit down. The streetcar was laughing. No one really intervened. They continued to fight as the streetcar left the station until they got off at Queen and they were still yelling at each other, still arguing. They looked like they were about to implode. It looked like the beginning of a really bad fight, or a really bad break up.
Name: Syndey Woods
Location: Queen streetcar
Date: Summer 2009
I got onto the streetcar, sat down, and had my dog sit down beside me. This dude turned around and said, “I fuckin’ hate dogs.” I was like, “All right…” So he turns around and faces forward. He was sitting there looking out the window and all of a sudden shouts, “Get your fucking dog away from me!” I was like, “Dude, relax. He’s just sitting here.” Then he goes hooooooooork and spits directly into my fucking face! My dog starts going nuts barking because I’m yelling at the guy and finally I burst into tears, get off the streetcar, and just started bawling. A big hork hit me in the middle of the face. It was disgusting!
Name: Lucas Stark
Location: Spadina streetcar
Date: Summer 2012
I was on a streetcar one time and a woman got up, got off the streetcar, then realized she forgot her baby on the streetcar in one of those little carrier things. She chased the streetcar to get him to stop, but the driver wasn’t listening to anyone. He was sort of in his own world and kept going for a while. She did remember to bring some of her shopping bags, which were from retail clothing stores, but she forgot her baby. It’s hard to run in high heels, but eventually the driver stopped and she got her baby back.
Name: Jessica Pepin
Location: Bloor-Danforth line
Date: March 2013
It was late one night and I was taking the subway home. There weren’t many people on the subway, but there was a gentleman sitting across from me. He had a cellphone out and he was staring at me with his cellphone pointed at me. It looked like he was taking pictures of me, but I wasn’t sure. Then the flash started going off, so he was clearly taking photos of me. He wasn’t initiating conversation, not saying anything, just taking photos with the flash on. Luckily, my stop was in two stops after that so I didn’t have to deal with him. Just a lonely guy by himself. Kinda creepy.
Location: Yonge line
Date: Spring 2008
I was on the northbound line around Davisville station. This is like 8:30 in the morning, and there were these two old guys and they were really super-grizzled, like from a movie almost. They were passing back and forth between them a big jumbo-sized bottle of Listerine, drinking it like booze, and they were laughing and cackling. On the seat adjacent to them, on a right angle, there were these two girls. They were in private-school uniforms and they were, like, 12 years old. They were just terrified. Just sitting there, arms tucked in, looking down, trying not to make eye contact. Then one of the guys turns to one of the girls after taking a big swig, offers them some of the mouthwash and says, “Ladies, would ya care to?” And they were just like, “No! No! No!” They got off at the next stop.
Name: Peter Jorgensen
Location: Bloor-Danforth line
Date: Summer 2009
I was on the subway and it wasn’t ram-packed, but it was full enough that most of the seats were taken. I sat down two seats away from this guy who was looking really agitated and roughed up. He clearly had been in a bad fight or an accident of some kind because he had stitches all over his face. There was this one particular nasty scar right down the centre of his forehead on a slant bubbled up with stitches, really fresh. His leg was bouncing a mile a minute and his whole torso was moving and he looked pissed. He was kind of murmuring to himself and he just chose me. I can’t imagine why he felt threatened by me, because I just looked like a country bumpkin back then. I had only been in the city for a year and a half and was still kind of green, not an urbanite yet. So he got up out of his seat, swung around to face me directly, pointed his index finger in my face and just started screaming. I just remember his finger an inch from my nose, and him about 12 inches away screaming in my face, and every single passenger on the subway was looking on. I’m really sensitive to public scenes and this was really humiliating; it felt like such an invasion of privacy. People jumped out of their seats and this kind of butch-looking woman stood up and sort of bore her shoulders in an aggressive fight stance towards him, which actually made him calm down. He reconsidered and went back to his seat. I only had about two stops to go, so I sat there and got off at my stop. Out of pride, I didn’t want to feel threatened in my own neighbourhood, so I stood my ground.
Name: Stephen Manning
Location: Dundas streetcar
Date: April 2013
I didn’t see the people who were talking, but it was one person from Vancouver and one person from Toronto. The Vancouver person said, “Vancouver is so much better than Toronto.” And the Toronto person said, “Well, why would you say that?” And the Vancouver person said, “Well we’ve got the mountains and we’ve got the oceans.” The Toronto guy was like, “You’re just naming things beside your city. They’re not even city-based. That would be like me saying that I like dating this person because I like their sister or their brother. And besides, I could never date Vancouver. She’d cry for 10 months out of the year!”
Name: Cam Taylor
Location: St. Clair West station
Date: Fall 2007
I came down the escalator to get onto the southbound platform at the south end. There was some guy leaning against the wall and he was pissing all over the wall. No one was doing anything about it. I was too tired at the time to do or say anything. The guy was clearly piss-drunk. He just leaned on the wall and went. There was a pee-spray going everywhere.
Name: Justin Bernard
Location: 96 Wilson bus
Date: Summer 2011
This was at 9 in the morning on a Sunday. I get on the bus and, after a while, I started to notice this weed smell in the air. I look to the back and there’s this chick and this guy sitting there smoking a doob. So, what the fuck, right? Then one guy behind them asked them to put it out. The guy just ignored him. Then another guy goes up to him and says, “Put it out now or I’ll call the cops.” The doob guy’s just like, “Fuck you. Fuck you.” The other guy was like, “Oh yeah?” and he picked the dude up off the seat, rang the bell, the bus stops, and he dragged the guy off the bus.
Name: Greg Frankson
Location: Bathurst streetcar
Date: Fall 2012
It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed. One evening I was sitting on a streetcar with a colleague as we were heading north on Bathurst street. There was a gentlemen sitting towards the front of the streetcar in one of the single seats in a pair of baggy jeans, kinda just hanging out. We weren’t paying much mind because we were having a conversation. Then, a young man got on the car at Dundas and he was carrying what appeared to be a take-out container wrapped in a white plastic bag. He was a young fellow, looked like he was university age. He had a large knapsack, headphones on, and he looked like he just picked up dinner and was on his way home. As he was walking past the first set of seats, this other man reaches out and grabs his take-out—just slaps his hand on it and doesn’t let go. This young guy pulls out one of his ear buds and says, “What are you doing?” and the guy looks at him and says, “I want it.” So there’s this momentary stand-off as this young man is looking at this older guy with his hand on his food as he’s walking past. I guess the young guy did some calculations and figured out it wasn’t worth whatever could happen if he tried to wrestle it out of this guy’s hand. So he lets go and walks to the back of the streetcar. By this time, the streetcar is in motion and we’re heading north towards College. The rest of us are looking at this guy stunned like, “Did he really take that guy’s food?” The older guy tears open the plastic bag, opens up the take-out container, and starts eating the food with his bare hands, just starts scooping the food into his face. And it’s at this point I was like, “Oh, hell no! Are you serious guy? What are you doing right now? Did you just take that guy’s food?” The people on the car kind of joined me and we’re spraying vitriol at this guy because, like, what the fuck! One of the other people sitting there goes up to the front and told the driver. At this point the driver stopped at College and the guy took the opportunity to jump off the streetcar and just took off. We never saw him again.
Have you seen anything strange go down during your TTC commute? (Is that the most rhetorical question in the world?) Share your stories in the comments section below.